Why is it so hard for so many of us to get rid of added sugar in our diets? It makes us gain unwanted weight, it’s bad for the teeth and it virtually shortens our lifespans. And, more research continues to show how bad it is.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted a number of studies on fructose and its impact on heart health. One large study found that people who drank two or more servings of sweet beverages a day had a 35 percent higher risk of developing heart disease, and people who drank at least one serving daily had a 16 percent greater chance of stroke, when compared to those who had none.1 In addition, research showed that people who drank one or two sweet drinks a day also had a 26 percent increased risk of developing diabetes.2
As explained by physicians, sugar calories provide no nutrients yet contribute to weight gain and even obesity, which puts consumers at a greater risk for heart issues. According to Robin Miller, MD, “Fructose is dangerous to the heart because of the way the body metabolizes it—in the liver. This can cause fatty liver disease, higher levels of fat in the blood and insulin resistance. I urge all my patients to stop drinking them.” 3
Carbonated sugar-filled sodas aren’t the only beverages that add to the risk of heart problems, stroke or diabetes. Every type of sugary drink contributes to the risk factors. These include sports drinks, sweet teas and fruit juices with or without added sugar.
According to Robert Lustig, professor of pediatrics and member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco, about 10 percent of the U.S. population are true sugar addicts and research indicates the cravings are similar to those induced by addictive drugs.4 Lustig says, “There is not one person who wouldn’t benefit by eliminating added sugar from their diets.” His research revealed that when obese children eliminated added sugars from their diets for only nine days, every aspect of their metabolic health improved.
Registered dietician and co-author of “The Sugar Detox: Lose the Sugar, Lose the Weight—Look and Feel Great,” Brooke Alpert is a proponent of going cold turkey off sugar, even if it’s just for three days. Speaking of her clients, she explains, “It was just ineffective to ask people to eat less of something when they’re struggling with this bad habit. When they would go cold turkey, the number one positive effect was that it recalibrated their palate. They could now taste natural sugars in fruits, vegetables and dairy that they used to be so dulled to.” 5
Alpert’s sugar detox takes place over 31 days. During the first three days on a sugar detox, she recommends no fruit or starchy vegetables, no dairy, no grains and no alcohol, in addition to no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Different foods are gradually re-introduced into the diet, with the exception of sugar. Dairy, grains, fruit and vegetables are all incorporated and by the fourth week, you are allowed five glasses of red wine per week.
“Depending on how intense your addiction is, you can experience withdrawal symptoms, such as brain fog, crankiness and fatigue…but if you can push through and stay well-hydrated, you can really break your cycle of sugar addition,” Alpert concludes.
In support of Active Wellness and sugar-free eating, Nikken has several nutritional supplements that are especially helpful during a sugar detox: Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox, Kenzen® Ten4® Energy Drink Mix to replace sugary drinks and Kenzen® Clarity to help with brain fog.